eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 7

Original article
Alexithymia and cognitive functioning in patients with a first depressive episode and recurrent depressive disorders

Agata Orzechowska
Monika Talarowska
Krzysztof Zboralski
Katarzyna Opuchlik
Marcelina Chamielec
Antoni Florkowski
Piotr Gałecki

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2012; 7, 4: 190–196
Online publish date: 2013/01/31
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Aim of the study: The main aim of the study reported was to assess the intensity of emotional deficits in alexithymia as a syndrome in comparison with selected aspects of cognitive functioning in patients treated for depression.

Material and methods: Subjects were 38 patients (19 women and 19 men) aged 18-65 years of age (M = 48.56 years, SD = 12.39) who were treated for psychiatric disorders: first episode of depression and recurrent depressive disorders. During psychological assessment of emotional and cognitive functioning of patients with depression, the study used the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (BVAQ), Trial Making Test (TMT) and Stroop Test.

Results: Patients with mood disorders are characterized by elevated levels of alexithymia and weakness of concentration, memory and executive functions. The correlation of the analyzed variables showed a significant association between overall levels of alexithymia and one of its dimensions (poverty of imagination and dreams upon waking) and the level of memory functioning measured by the Trial Making Test. Other factors to measure deficits in identifying emotions did not show a statistically significant effect of selected aspects of cognitive function.

Conclusions: Among patients with depressive disorders, difficulty in identifying their own emotions, including poverty of imagination, are associated with weakness of memory. The obtained results need further analysis, in which inclusion of a control group consisting of healthy individuals should be considered.

alexithymia, working memory, depressive disorder

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